Until recently, appetite was booming for commercial development land in central London. Keen interest from both UK and overseas parties was driving pricing upwards, but the Covid-19 pandemic and a subsequent recession have put the brakes on this trend. In the age of coronavirus and social distancing, working from home became a reality for almost everyone in London, transforming the way we produce, consume and live in the capital.
Yet for many years it had been predicted that the future working environment would be driven by the employee’s choice to achieve better balance and well-being in their working lives. Arguably, the pandemic has just accelerated the evolution in workspace design that would have occurred over the next few years.
So, what will the workplace of the future look like? What are the current occupier and employee needs in the midst of the covid disruption? What physical and behavioural changes have transformed the office as we know it? How is this also transforming urban spaces and city life? What will be the intermediate and long-term revolutions to the workplace?
Building up on WRK/LDN
, this research paper will look at how workspaces across London have evolved adjusting to the pandemic and will assess how they will need to adapt for the future. This will include a review of commercial space standards over recent history and proposal on how they may change for the future. The format will consist of a leading essay, a series of viewpoints from experts, a selection of key ideas for the future and a showcase of solutions to the post-covid workplace.
— To provide an overview of the evolution of workplaces in London in the last 20 years and recount the disruption accelerated by COVID-19.
— To provide a snapshot of where London currently is in responding to the covid-related alternations to the workplace and city life.
— To analyse the contributions of different actors in the built environment sector in defining and implementing changes towards the reactivation of the workplaces and the recovery of central London.
— To document the opportunities these challenging times have presented and introduce the call for ideas for the future evolution of the workplace.
— Recent history: How have workplaces changed in London in the last 20-30 years? From the Big Bang to the emergence of co-working spaces (sharing economy / tech giants), what are the key moments that have transformed the office? How big an impact is covid compared to other moments?
— Changes: What new working patterns, both physical and behavioural, have emerged from the covid disruption? Which ones may be temporary and which ones might have a long-lasting effect?
— How will new ‘working from home’ habits transform the traditional office? Are office space standards still relevant? And conversely, will the home need to adapt to more established ‘wfh’ days?
— What are / will be the new employee demands and who will cover them? How will this affect the design of workplaces and the urban spaces around them?
— New normal: How will new attitudes towards work transform travel patterns and commuting? Will the 9-to-5, Monday to Friday, workweek disappear and how will that affect the city?
— How much office space will London need in the future and what will determine this? Will localised workplaces change the inner/outer London balance? What will happen to the CAZ?
— International comparison: How other countries dealt with adjusting? Particularly cities ahead of the curve in the covid
— Virtual and physical office: the retail revolution (the experiential, the brand digital presence related to the brick and mortar), will this happen to the workplace?
— Flexible fit outs: Reuse, adaptation, flexibility. Which sectors are going to adapt differently?